Friday, January 15, 2010


More babies are being born preterm and this means that more babies are at risk of neurological damage. This can range from very mild to severe. In this video, Nature reporter Erika Check Hayden talks with researchers and clinicians who are developing ways to help these babies, at the Children’s Hospital of the University of California, San Francisco.

Interestingly the idea of cooling babies suspected of experiencing neurological damage (e.g. from lack of oxygen) has been around at least since the 1960's. But work by researchers in New Zealand lead to the development of a cooling cap that can be used in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Researchers are still working out the best way to use cooling to minimise the damage from these types of brain injuries. For example, how long should the baby/brain be cooled for, at what temperature, and how slowly should they be "rewarmed" afterwards?

The full story appeared in the journal Nature and can be read at:

Professor Donna Ferriero, who appears in the video, is head of Paediatric Neurology at Children's Hospital and also founded the Newborn Brain Research Institute at UCSF. She visited Australia and Adelaide in 2009 as the guest of the Paediatric Society of Australia and New Zealand. She met with the NeuroPAD team and was very interested in the PREMOCODE study.

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